[The Oatmeal Project, Day 26: Red Beans and Rice Oats]
We used canned beans for this recipe because February is National Canned Food Month.
(That’s our marketing department’s statement.)
And here’s the real statement from the TasteSpotting Kitchen!
The real reason we used canned kidney beans for our Red Beans and Rice/Oats is that we just don’t plan that far ahead — how are we supposed to remember to soak dried beans for 8-10 hours today to slow-cook the dish all day tomorrow? It’s the same reason why we resort to 40 minutes in a rice cooker to make oats in the first place, rather than trying to remember to “quick cook” oats “overnight.”
Red Beans and Rice originates out of practicality. Women would throw ham or bones leftover from the previous (Sunday) night’s dinner into a pot with the red beans and while the beans simmered with the ham for hours upon flavor-extracting hours, the women would do laundry.
We didn’t make ours with pork, though the end result was still delicious.
We also don’t do laundry, but that’s a post for a different blog entirely.
Red Beans Recipe for Red Beans and Rice (or Oats)
Red beans and rice typically includes some type of pork — ham, sausage, or even pickled pork. We left the pork out, mostly because the point of oats for us is to “celebrate” Heart Health Month, and we’re not going to squeeze a square pig into a round hole (using Spam the other day might make us a little hypocritical, but we aren’t perfect, right?)
We chopped the vegetables fairly finely since they are meant to cook down to the point of “melting” into the beans, and using canned beans, the cook time is significantly shorter than the usual method.
1 tablespoons canola oil
½ medium onion, finely chopped
½ medium green bell peppers, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 cups chicken stock (start with 4, you may need more)
1 bay leaf
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2-3 stems fresh parsely (or ½ teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon each, but taste as you go along)
2 cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups cooked steel cut oats
Heat canola oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell pepper and celery and cook until cooked through, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook about 2 minutes more.
Add 4 cups chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme, hot sauce, and cayenne pepper to the pot. Turn up heat, bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low. Add the beans, salt and pepper, and adjust temperature to make sure it’s at a simmer.
Cook, stirring frequently, about 25 minutes. Halfway through, mash about ¼ of the beans against the side of the post with a fork, and stir in to thicken the beans. If the mixture is too liquidy, just let it cook longer to reduce the amount of stock. If the beans get too thick, add more chicken stock about ¼ cup at a time.
Serve the beans over bowls of steaming hot rice or, in our case, steel cut oats.
The beans will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, and honestly, the do taste better the next day, re-heated.